Good leadership is at the heart of healthy and vibrant communities, whether that be communities of faith or otherwise. This past year the ELCA highlighted the roles leaders are playing in the church as well as the ways we, as a church, are equipping them to do so.

Through Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA’s annual themes, congregations and synods invited members to deepen their understanding of and engagement with our shared ministries, such as the ELCA Fund for Leaders. Special fundraising activities and events, such as Rostered Ministers Appreciation, provided all ELCA members the opportunity to participate over the five years of the campaign. Last year’s annual theme of “Leadership” centered on celebrating the leaders in ELCA congregations while also supporting the next generation of leaders.

Gabi Aelabouni, director of the ELCA Fund for Leaders, reflected on the ways in which this theme year helped foster a deeper understanding of the importance of supporting leaders through Always Being Made New:

“The campaign’s support for the Fund for Leaders has, quite simply, changed lives. It has changed the lives of our scholarship recipients, who have been able to say ‘yes’ to God’s call to ministry. It has changed the lives of the congregations and ministries who will be led by these pastors and deacons. And it has changed the church through this investment in today and in the future. I know without a doubt that our church will be stronger because of the Holy Spirit inspiring generosity and faith in all those who contributed to the campaign, and especially to Fund for Leaders.”

Since 2000, ELCA Fund for Leaders has provided financial support to more than 900 ELCA seminarians, but as the need for new pastors and deacons continues to grow, so, too, does our call as church to support them.

To learn more about ELCA Fund for Leaders, go to

Kristen Opalinski
Kristen L. Opalinski is the manager for ecumenical and inter-religious relations for the ELCA.

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